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Sales in Branson Downtown Growing by $1 Million Annually

Marketing campaigns and craft fairs like the upcoming Autumn Daze attract shoppers to the historic district.
BRANSON, Mo. – Sales in downtown shopping areas tend to decline in many cities due to urban sprawl. But Branson’s historic district is having its best year since 2007.

The emergence of the Branson Landing and other shopping centers in the area hurt many stores along Main St. For several years retail sales from the downtown fell by several million dollars.

But for the past three years shops and restaurants downtown have started growing again, posting more than $32 million in revenue during 2013. For the past three years the district’s revenues have increased approximately $1 million annually.

Chris Bohinc, who runs the Historic Downtown Association, noted that business over the summer was the best the downtown has enjoyed in her four years with the group.

“Our downtown--you can never copy that or reproduce it,” Bohinc said. “That's our history, that's our heritage, that's our real mom and pop stores.”

Many of the stores, like Sandra’s leather on Main St., have sold as much as 20% more merchandise this summer than during the 2008 recession.

Jessica Meyer, who manages the store, said the fall season often brings some of the year’s best customers.

“The older generation still believes in mom and pop businesses,” she said. “So the fall is great for us.”

Meanwhile, craft vendors are setting up for the fall festival in the downtown, the largest festival of the year.

Bohinc said such craft shows draw large crowds to the downtown area who might not visit otherwise.

“We still have such unique flavor,” she said. “We believe the people who go to the landing because its newer are still going to come downtown if we do our job and can capture them.”

Vendors like Jen Peoples also hope to profit from the growing popularity of the downtown area.

“We love to come to Branson because its a family oriented place,” she said. “It's a safe place to take your kids.”

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